I’ve had a hard-ish time expanding the Greek repertoire on here because the blog’s been around for so long that I’ve posted nearly every Greek dish I’ve had growing up (although some of the posts are…not pretty, to say the least). There can be variations on common dishes, surely, but I often hesitate to call some things “Greek” when really they may be fusion or the only Greek thing about them is feta (a pet peeve of mine) and, anyway, I’d have the European Blog Police on my hands for anything they did not deem 1 million percent authentic. Others I honestly haven’t thought to post because their commonality for me makes me not even consider it (I realize this is silly; they may not be common to YOU, after all). Finally, it can be because I just haven’t—or don’t—measure ingredients, which makes them difficult to blog. (OR, it’s a dish like gemista/stuffed vegetables, which I have made countless times and still cannot manage to get “right” enough to post. Sigh.)
Anyway, spanakopita is sort of a combination of many things. We don’t eat it often because…I don’t know. I guess I tend to make miniature “cheater” spanakopita. They aren’t really easier, I guess, but they are nice for when you don’t want to work with phyllo or you want to use them as appetizers or portioned items. I also like miniature spanakopites and tyropites better, probably because the crispy, buttery phyllo is the best part, so it’s nice to have it envelop everything. 🙂 And, the measuring thing. I basically never measure fresh herbs. Never. Even here I kinda sorta did, like more than normal, so I could write something down. Basically because I didn’t think “a shitload” of dill was necessarily an appropriate measurement for a blog.
Spanakopita is really not difficult to make at all. I’ve had issues with phyllo over the years but honestly, it’s been so much easier for me to work with lately so maybe those Greek genes finally kicked in. Ian is not the world’s biggest spanakopita fan, which is a bummer (he likes the mini pies well enough, though, because there is less spinach and more crispy dough), but Zachary is spanakopita-obsessed. He is often telling me I don’t make it enough. When I did this last time he made me promise to save him some because he not only wanted to take it to school for breakfast, but wanted to eat it alongside other dinners for the week.
- 20 minutes
- 45 minutes
- 8-12 servings
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 leek, white parts sliced and thoroughly washed
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 lbs. baby or regular spinach (remove any very rough stems from bundled spinach)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped dill
- 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup Myzithra or Romano cheese
- 1/2 lb. phyllo dough
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- Heat a large, deep saute pan or a pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and once hot, stir in the leek and onions. Sauté for 1-2 minutes before adding he spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach has started to wilt, but not completely. Pour into a colander and drain any excess liquids, pressing the colander with a spoon or your fingers to wring out as much as possible.
- Place the spinach in a bowl with the dill, parsley, eggs, feta, Myzithra/Romano, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir just until thoroughly mixed.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter and remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan until the butter has melted.
- Preheat the oven to 375º. Brush the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish with the butter/oil mixture.
- If your phyllo is very large, cut the sheets to fit into the pan. Most will be about 1-2" too long, which is fine and you shouldn't bother cutting it. Lay a sheet of the phyllo into your greased baking dish, and brush with butter/oil. Place another sheet of phyllo on top (it's a good idea to cover the phyllo you are not yet using with a damp towel), and brush it with oil. Continue to do this until you have layered 8 sheets of phyllo.
- Spread the spinach mixture across the phyllo in the baking dish evenly. Place another sheet of phyllo on top, brush with oil/butter, and continue to do the same thing for 8 sheets. You can tuck and curl the overhang of the sheets to make sort of an an additional raised crust around the perimeter (be sure to brush the tops of those, too, with butter/oil).
- Take a sharp knife and score the top of the pie into squares or triangles. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until phyllo is golden brown and crisp. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before following your scoring to cut slices and serve.